TALLADEGA, Ala. – Talladega Superspeedway fans are known for being patriotic, but this Sunday they will have more reason to feel proud to be an American a historic flyover takes them back to the earlier days of the speedway.
Two combat veteran T-28 Trojan aircraft from the Museum of Flight, Chattanooga’s Aviation Museum (TN) will soar above Talladega Superspeedway near the conclusion of the National Anthem to the road of thousands of fans, minutes before the start of the Aaron’s 499 Sprint Cup Series Race at NASCAR’s Most Competitive Track.
Lt. Col. Peyton “XMan” Dehart and Pete “Wheeler” O’Hare who both served in Vietnam, will pilot the aircraft, used by the United States Air Force and United States Navy beginning in the 1950s. The T-28 was successfully employed as a Counter-insurgency (COIN) aircraft, primarily during the Vietnam War. They were produced from 1950-58 and was retired in 1994.
The flyover will occur at the end of the Star-Spangled Banner, which will be performed by recording artist Robin Meade, also host of HLN’s “Morning Express with Robin Meade.” Moments later, fans will be treated to Talladega’s famous tradition of presenting an American flag on the back of a semi-truck as it barrels around the track. Sunday is guaranteed to become part of Talladega’s patriotic lore.
“Talladega Superspeedway and our great fans both have a long and storied history of being fiercely patriotic, and we wanted to continue that patriotism this year with aircraft that have helped protect our nation,” Talladega Superspeedway Chairman Grant Lynch said. “You can see the patched bullet holes on the Bravo model, and the Alpha model’s story is an incredible one.”
That story includes being sold by the US Navy to Honduras for only one dollar in 1969 and shortly thereafter downing an El Salvadorian P-51 during the 100-Hour War between Honduras and El Salvador.
Both aircraft can now be seen close up at the Museum of Flight, Chattanooga Aviation Museum, located in the suburban community of Hixson, TN.
The most competitive racing in NASCAR combined with a mix of southern hospitality returns to Talladega Superspeedway May 3-5 for the Aaron’s Dream Weekend. Experience the excitement as the superstars of NASCAR attempt to tackle the high-banks of ‘DEGA at 200 mph. Secure your tickets at www.talladegasuperspeedway.com or by calling 877-Go2-DEGA. This is more than a race… This is Talladega!